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Robert O. Marshall
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Murderer
    (December 16, 1939-February 21, 2015)
    Born in Queens, New York
    Insurance broker in Toms River, New Jersey
    Charged with hiring two men to murder his wife, Maria (killed September 7, 1984)
    Convicted (March 5, 1986) and sentenced to death by lethal injection
    Appealed his sentence, claiming his lawyer failed to meet standards for a death penalty case
    Sentence reduced to life in prison (2004)
    Subject of the book 'Blind Faith' by Joe McGinnis (1989)
    Wrote 'Tunnel Vision: Trial and Error' (2002), challenging McGinnis' conclusions
    McGinnis described him as having 'all the social grace of a wolverine.'
    At the time of his wife's murder, he had $300,000 in debts, largely from frequent gambling trips to Atlantic City.
    His mistress testified that he said he wanted to 'get rid of' his wife and use the insurance money to pay off his debts.
    When he professed his love for his wife during his trial, the prosecutor responded, 'Then can you explain to me, sir, why her ashes are still in a brown cardboard box in a desk drawer at the funeral home?'
    When he became eligible for parole, his two oldest sons, Roby and Christopher, vowed to appear before the parole board and argue against his release (2015).
    Roby said, 'He knew what he was going to do to our family and he went ahead and did it.'
    He was the chair of the local United Way fund.
    His youngest son, John, believed in his innocence.
    The gunman who actually shot Maria, Larry Thompson, was acquitted, thanks to three relatives testifying he was in Louisiana when the crime was committed. (In 2014, while imprisoned for other crimes, Thompson admitted to shooting Maria Marshall.)
    In a show of good timing, he died a month before his first scheduled parole hearing would have taken place.

Credit: C. Fishel


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